As a New York City kid, I thought I had an appreciation for good food, but life in Salamanca has shown me that in gastronomic years, I’m still a child. At lunchtime, Salamanca winds to a halt as we all find our way home for la comida. Meals are a ritual of animated conversation and mind-numbingly delicious food. At Teresa’s table, my Spanish madre gathers together her husband and an occasional family guest. We savor Teresa’s three-course lunch as we watch the news, discuss politics, and talk about our days. Meals are rarely eaten out in Salamanca, so Teresa takes her job as chef very seriously. I’ve come to expect meals to be prompt, the food rich and plentiful, and to taste in every bite the hint (or more) of olive oil, salt, and pepper. ¡Qué rica!
- Desayuno (8:00 am)
- You’re not going to find a multi-course breakfast in Teresa’s home. She indulges me with a piece of toast and fruit. Trust me, there’s good reason to keep it simple in the morning.
- Almuerzo (2:30 pm)
- All of Salamanca shuts down for lunch, the multi-course extravaganza of a meal. Lunch begins with a salad, soup, or even pasta. Teresa knows how much I like salad, so she’s been experimenting. Yesterday, she served a seafood salad of fresh calamari and shrimp. Another day she mixed in apples and olives. The next course is a richly prepared chicken, fish or beef, invariably steeped in olive oil and occasionally cream. Teresa is pleased when I devour this course. The meal ends with a beautifully ripe piece of fruit. She asks me what my favorite fruit is, and the next day I find a mixture of strawberries, pear, and apple. I discover to my surprise that I like pears. Luckily, it’s time for my siesta.
- La Cena (9:30 pm)
- After lunch, it’s hard to believe I’ll ever be hungry again, but when evening rolls around, I’m ready for more. Dinner begins with a vegetable course. Teresa is inventive and a new vegetable mix appears at each meal. Yesterday was peas and onions but my favorite is her stuffed eggplant. Next, comes a protein, not quite as rich as what she served for lunch, but equally delicious. The meal ends with yogurt. For the first week it was banana yogurt, but as I grow more comfortable with my Spanish madre, I find the courage to ask if she has any other flavors. Moments later, Teresa brings out a wonderful bowl of fig yogurt, creamy and sweet. After dinner I’m ready for bed, but remembering that I’m 18, I occasionally rouse myself for a night at the disco.
When I wake-up the next morning, I wonder what’s cooking in Teresa’s magical kitchen.
PS- Thank you Anthony Bourdain for teaching me what food can be.
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<p>I was born and raised in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I'm a big foodie and love eating matcha ice cream in Chinatown, bulgogi on 35th street, and every type of raw and cooked vegetable at all the fast casual places around the City (I'm obsessed with Dig-In). I have a food instagram site called hot.foods.ugh which I call a "food journal of a reformed picky eater". I should also mention that I'm a huge runner. This activity couples nicely with my love of food. Whenever I travel, I love to explore different runs. Like my love of exploring different food, running gives me a whole other way to experience life.</p>